Final amendments for social studies curriculum to be decided today - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

5/20/10

Final amendments for social studies curriculum to be decided today

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LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) -

By Ben Lawson  - bio | email

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - Thursday, members of the State Board of Education consider a final list of what should be covered in Texas social studies classes.  It's a hot topic that's drawn plenty of criticism and affects learning across the country.

The board will consider a final list of amendments to the standards Thursday.  One of the amendments suggests the nation's founders may not have meant for the separation of church and state as courts see it today.

Republican Don McLeroy from College Station suggested the change, along with the idea that the United Nations poses a threat to individual liberties.  McLeroy says the state's history curriculum has been unfairly skewed to the left, and he wants to move it to what he considers a middle ground.  Others say conservative members are trying to push their political and religious views.

On Wednesday, the board heard from more than 200 people about the changes during a 12 hour public hearing.  A final vote is scheduled for Friday.

Lubbock ISD's Social Studies Coordinator says they're ready to see the final product. "We're ready to know, and we're ready to move forward, and we're ready to just be able to see what it's going to look like and be able to start making plans," Misty Reiber said. 

"We have studied so many different revisions over the course of the past, almost two years that we're ready to see what the final piece will look like," Reiber continued. 

Standards have not been chanced since 1998.  If passed, new standards will go into effect in the fall of 2011, so local educators will have a year to review and implement the new curriculum, but new text books may have to wait.

"What we're hearing right now, in rumor is that's going to be delayed, and so if that's the case, we're going to have to look for supplemental resources to help our teachers have the information they need," Reiber said. 

Estimated costs for the review process and implementation are around $4.3 million.  That does not include the price each district may have to pay. 

The decision sets the standards for the next ten years for what's taught, covered in textbooks, and tested on state exams, but it also effects teaching across the nation.  Textbooks written for Texas are sold to many other states.  Because Texas is a one of the biggest textbook purchasers, it saves money for publishers to use the same version in other places.

Thursday's meeting is scheduled for 9:00 a.m. in Austin.  KCBD NewsChannel 11 will keep you updated on air, online, and on the go with our mobile applications.

Copyright 2010 KCBD. All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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